This year, Tim Lincecum has had two starts that fall under the category of a “quality start.” That becomes even less-appealing when you find that both came against the soft-hitting San Diego Padres.
The Atlanta Braves’ offense isn’t soft. Not by an extent of the imagination. And Lincecum, bouncing back from a rocky outing against the Philadelphia Phillies, shut down the Braves over seven innings to propel the Giants to a 5-1 win.
Lincecum regained the control of his off-speed pitches that eluded him in his last start. He struck out seven, walked three and allowed just two hits. Had he avoided a 25-pitch first inning, he might’ve had enough left in the tank to dig deeper.
Lincecum through a no-hitter from the fourth inning on. The Braves managed a weakly hit ground ball in the first inning with one out. And in the second inning, Jordan Schafer singled. But that’s all the Braves would muster against Lincecum, who lowered his season ERA to 4.07.
The Giants backed Lincecum with three solo home runs. Brandon Belt got things started by backspinning a Kris Medlen two-seamer into the bleachers with one out in the second inning. Pablo Sandoval followed Belt in the third inning with his sixth home run of the season on a ball that reached McCovey Cove.
After Brandon Crawford’s RBI single made the score 3-0 in the fourth inning, Marco Scutaro capped San Francisco’s mini home run derby in the fifth inning with his first homer of the year.
Gregor Blanco tacked on the Giants’ fifth run of the day with an RBI double on a ball that one-hopped the 421 sign in Triples Alley. Blanco’s blast hopped into the stands, permitting the speedster from easily making it to third base, and perhaps even rounding them all.